Delhi air pollution: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal calls for an emergency meeting

by National | 13-11-2021 | 784 views

New Delhi: Taking cognizance of the severe air quality situation in the capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called for an emergency meeting. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Environment Minister Gopal Rai will be at the meeting which will also see the presence of the Chief Secretary of Delhi. The pollution control measures and suggestions of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will be discussed at the meeting. 

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal calls emergency meeting today to tackle air pollution; Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Health minister Satyendar Jain, Environment minister Gopal Rai and Delhi Chief Secretary to take part in the meeting. 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Saturday (November 13) took a serious view of the severe air pollution in Delhi-NCR and suggested that if needed, the government can declare a two-day lockdown to bring down the levels, which has been caused by stubble burning, vehicles, firecrackers, industries and dust. At the outset, a bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, that the "situation is very bad... In the house we are wearing masks. It is a bad situation".

"How to control air pollution in Delhi, two days lockdown or what. How will people live in Delhi?" queried the Chief Justice. 

Mehta began the argument detailing steps taken by the air quality management commission to abate air pollution in NCR and adjoining areas, which included steps taken to address agricultural stubble burning.

The bench also comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant said instead of blaming the farmers, all state governments and the Centre should come together to address the air pollution issue. The Chief Justice noted that stubble burning by farmers is only responsible for 25 per cent of the pollution, and the remaining 75 per cent pollution was from firecracker burning, vehicular pollution, dust.

Chief Justice told Mehta, "Where is the effective mechanism to control firecrackers, vehicular pollution. Look at the pollution level," to which the latter said that both the Centre and state governments are working together to address the issue.

The Chief Justice added, "We have nothing to do, governments need burning solutions, how to control. Need two to three days short term plans to control pollution." The bench also observed, "Your projection is as if farmers are only responsible. What about steps taken to contain the pollution in Delhi?" Mehta clarified that he is not saying that only farmers are responsible for the severe air pollution which has engulfed Delhi-NCR.

The top court also took note of the fact that schools have opened in the national capital and asked the authorities to take immediate measures.

Justice Chandrachud cited the AIIMS Director's remark that it is a triple whammy - pollution, Covid, and dengue. "Their (kids') lungs are exposed," he added.

The top court told the Centre and the Delhi government to inform it on Monday the decisions taken to take emergency steps to address severe air pollution in the capital. The apex court was hearing a plea by a minor boy seeking directions against stubble burning and other factors associated with high pollution levels in Delhi-NCR.

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